Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc., the biggest U.S. bank by assets, will receive a $7.5 billion cash infusion from Abu Dhabi to replenish capital after record mortgage losses wiped out almost half its market value.
Citigroup rose 2.6 percent in New York trading today following acting Chief Executive Officer Win Bischoff's statement late yesterday that funds from the state-owned Abu Dhabi Investment Authority will help ``strengthen our capital base.''
Abu Dhabi will buy securities that convert to stock and yield 11 percent a year, almost double the interest Citigroup offers bond investors, underscoring the New York-based company's need for cash. Fourth-quarter profit will be reduced by as much as $7 billion because of losses from subprime mortgages, which led to the departure of CEO Charles O. ``Chuck'' Prince III and a 46 percent slump in its stock this year.
``Clearly, Citi has a problem with capital adequacy after the subprime crisis,'' said Giyas Gokkent, head of research at National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC, Abu Dhabi's biggest bank by market value. ``ADIA has seen an opportunity to get cheaply into a blue-chip stock.''
With the purchase of a 4.9 percent stake, Abu Dhabi, the largest emirate in the United Arab Emirates and its capital, would rank as Citigroup's largest shareholder ahead of Los Angeles-based Capital Group Cos. and Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
Of course, the fact that they are buying in tells us the UAE has confidence in CitiGroup's future. Additionally, it tells us they have confidence in the future of American markets.
On the other hand, now Saudi Arabia and UAE are two of the three largest holders in CitiGroup and one has to wonder what agenda they will assert on the Board of Directors.